Indy Convergence-Day 8: Studying gender and being site specific

2013-05-27 16.07.36Everyday should start with pilates with Caitlin, as ours did today.  After we all checked in, I made my way to the dance studio to work on my side project.  I had been working on the photo slide show and spoken word, so I was excited to put it together with the choreography of the piece.  It had been a week since my last rehearsal, and I am very happy I had that much time.  I was completely unsure of the transitions from the different sections of the piece.  Putting together the video and having time to reflect helped me to gain some clarity on what I wanted out of the piece.  We added some more choreography today, as well as adding the element of costumes and costume changes.  I am very happy with where we are and we still have rehearsal tomorrow to clean, clarify, and get everything we learned so quickly in our bodies.

I wish every day was blob day.  We got spend a lot of the Umbrella Project rehearsal on the blob scene, which means getting to move and play in the blog suits.  I will need my own blob suit so I can blob it up any time I want after Indy Convergence is over and about 15 so I can have them for students to use in class.  Everyone should be a blob at some point in their life 🙂

2013-05-27 16.07.44After feeling very self-conscious and awkward the first time trying the Driad scene, in which I have quite a bit of improvised spoken word, today felt 100% better.  What a difference a day makes.

Josh’s Site Specific workshop was next.  My eyes light up when I hear those two words (especially if you add the word improv to it).  The workshop did not disappoint.  After some great discussion about how we define and should define site specific work, it was play time.  We split up into groups, each being given a specific space in the Wheeler to create a site specific piece to.  We got the layered platforms in the performance space with the shiny metallic sculpture/set that Lee has created.  I immediately wanted to play with the levels and tight spaces of the platforms.  We used the bit of scrap materials that were in the space, utilized the mirror within the sculpture, as well as the brick wall the platform is against.

I enjoyed seeing the other groups site specific pieces as much as creating ours.  We had everything from a haunted house/hallway, to a very literal kill room, to chair climbing.  My day ended with watching Colleen’s about masks, featuring her teacher, as we ate dinner.  I wrapped up the night by finishing all of my video and sound editing.  Everything is taking shape and I am getting very excited for Saturday!

Indy Convergence-Day 6: How to make a yoga mat fort/recording studio

388341_2334281048161_1844845890_nToday is our workday.  Everyone is busy with building things and extra rehearsals.  I used the time to put together my video/photo project and record the spoken word to accompany it.

I got to spend the morning and afternoon working on the slide show that will accompany spoken word for my side project, Gender Studies.  I asked friends and family to share photos with all ages both living up to and going against gender expectations.  I found it interesting that some people thought they didn’t have what I was looking for.  To quote the text that goes with the piece “Gender is all around us. It is actually taught to us, from the moment we are born. Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly. Upbringing, culture, peers, community, media, and religion, are some of the many influences that shape our understanding of this core aspect of identity.” (from  Yes we have physical characteristics that make men and women different, but the idea of gender is something that we impose upon ourselves.  While I relate to feminine qualities physically, in terms of my personality and how I behave, I embody more typical masculine qualities than I do the stereotypically feminine qualities.  But we all have varying degrees of both, and to me, that diversity is wonderful thing!

2013-05-26 18.55.27Going through everyone’s photos gave me a great sense of joy.  There is nothing more cute than putting a tiny infant girl in a tutu or a young boy in his Spider Man costume.  Then there’s my friend who is military, but is still feminine as well, has a daughter that is just like her.  She can be a girly girl, but still likes to roll around, get dirty, and play with typical “boys toys” as well more girly things society expects of her.  I honestly do not understand why people are afraid  of diversity and insist on conformity…but then Ellen is exploring that in the Umbrella Project about “otherness”, so I’ll let her answer those questions 😉

After working at home, I made my way back to the Wheeler to record Christina for the spoken word portion.  When I asked Robert where he thought the best place to record the sound was, he immediately started to construct a genius little yoga mat fort for our recording studio.  Christina did a lovely job and I’m excited to add it to the photos and complete the project tomorrow.

Indy Convergence-Day 3: I was a blob and I saw a possum

941719_4735869086361_751859372_nPuppets and Kenpo and Beards, oh my!  The creativity continues to flow on our third day of Indy Convergence.  It’s the third day, but there are already amazing things happening.  I’m feeling very inspired being inspired by so much talent and creativity, as well as nurtured by my new Indy Convergence community.

Today I learned how to kill a man.  Okay, so I took one Kenpo martial arts class with Robert this morning.  It makes me realize I need to add learning a martial arts form to my to do list.  This led into our first rehearsal for Robert’s side project, which is about his experiences working in Haiti and starting .  We spent the entire first rehearsal with Robert sharing his experiences with us.  It was incredibly humbling to see the positive changes he and the other Indy Convergence artists that have been affecting in Haiti.  I am excited to start this process, further understanding my understanding of the complex situation in Haiti and the rich culture and heritage there.9903_4735871926432_1347192912_n

Our Umbrella Project rehearsal was particularly fun, because we got to test out the blob suits.  The dancers involved in Indy Convergence (and Josh) all get to be alien “Blobs” in a scene about “otherness”.  Human explorers go the the Blobs’ planet.  We’re not sure yet exactly how it’s going to end up.  I will post a picture of our shiny Blob suits tomorrow; they’re pretty freakin fabulous.

We then had a poetry writing workshop with Leah.  We learned about writing poetry for two or more voices.  One of our first exercises was to write a poem based on a prompt, I chose the one about seeing a dead possum.  I’m certainly not a poet, but I enjoyed just getting thoughts out on paper.We then played a game, a type of poetry pictionary.  We each wrote one line to a poem.  We then passed it to our left and that person would write the next line.  Before passing it along, you fold the paper so the next person can only see the last line written.  So each line of the poem is written only with seeing the line before it.  It made for some great and often hilarious poetry…particularly about Ian’s emerging beard 😉

Indy Convergence-Day 2: Gender Studies and Butoh

Despite the fact the for some reason, my left quad decided it was very unhappy last night and this morning, it was okay throughout the day and I had another creative, productive, and fun day at Indy Convergence!

181457_4731661381171_470902095_nToday we had a lovely Yoga class, check-in, and then I had rehearsal for my Gender Studies piece.  I’m taking what I started and showed as a work in progress at the last =ibrium Dance Project concert, and adding to it and developing it more.  I’ve taken out all of the silence and extended a few songs and added two in (I Enjoy Being a Girl and Mannish Boy).  If you haven’t seen the piece, all of the songs refer very specifically to gender.  I decided to keep the same voice over as the original, but re-record it with someone with a much more articulate voice than my own, and I’m going to add a sort of video slide show.  I will be showing pictures of myself and others as children and adults both living up to gender expectations as well as going against them.

After another sound experimenting Umbrella Project Rehearsal, we had a Butoh class with Kendra.  I have seen some video of Butoh, but aside from the fact that it is originally from Japan and a modern response with traditional Japanese aesthetic, I knew nothing about it.  I of course did not magically become an expert in a little over an hour workshop, but I now have a very basic kinesthetic idea of what it is, Kendra shared more of the history that I was not aware of before, and I especially found our last guided exercise very satisfying.  I especially enjoyed our guided movement journey from the womb, going through life, and finishing that cycle with the inevitable.

I’ve had my “I’m an old lady so I need to soak in espom salt” bath and now it is time to get some rest so I can do some more converging in the morning.